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Garlic is a popular ingredient in cooking; its strong taste adds flavour to any recipe. Hence, a dish prepared without garlic seems to lack flavour. Garlic also has high medicinal value. Your grandmother must have raved about the medicinal properties of garlic and how it helps in treating the common cold and boosting immunity. Of course, garlic has many health benefits, but is it good for a baby? Many new mothers are not sure about giving garlic to their babies, therefore, we have incorporated all the necessary information to help you decide if you can give it to your baby or not. Find out if garlic is safe for babies and when you can introduce garlic in your baby’s diet.
Is Garlic Safe for Babies?
There’s no harm in feeding garlic to babies if it is given in a safe manner. Garlic allergies do exist, but their occurrences are quite rare. The strong and pungent flavour of garlic could be a little too much for your baby, so it is best to introduce only a tiny amount in the beginning.
When to Introduce Garlic in a Baby’s Diet
There is no specific time as such to introduce garlic into your baby’s diet. Some moms may choose to introduce garlic in very small quantity from as early as 6 months of age, while others may choose to wait for a year or so. Doctors usually recommend introducing any kind of solids, and especially the strong ones like garlic, once the baby turns 10-11 months.
Nutritional Content of Garlic
The constitution of garlic is quite interesting to observe since it has one of the most peculiar combinations of ingredients that make it healthy. In 100g of garlic, the distribution can be observed as follows.
Source – http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2446/2
What Are the Health Benefits of Garlic for Infants
The reason most people tend to include garlic in their baby’s diet is due to the numerous benefits it offers to the child, which can be temporary as well as long-lasting.
1. Strengthens the Immune System
Garlic is known to boost the immune system of a baby by stimulating the cells of the body, namely eosinophils, dendritic cells, natural defence cells, and lymphocytes. Furthermore, it even stimulates the secretion of cytokine that improves metabolism and keeps any possibility of obesity in check.
2. Lowers the Risk of Cancer
The properties of garlic that protect an individual from bacteria, viruses, and oxidants are enhanced when it is in the crushed form, as it contains a higher amount of organosulfur compounds. All of these work together in stimulating the immune system to react against inflammation and protects the baby from various types of cancer, like oral, colon, renal.
3. Keeps Heart Health in Check
The collection of cholesterol along the lines of arteries begins from a young age and the presence of bad cholesterol needs to be kept in check from the start. Garlic helps in reducing the levels of cholesterol in the blood, which lowers the risk of hypertension and the chances of heart attacks in future.
4. Fights Against Worms in the Intestine
Worms may enter a baby’s stomach and intestine through food or their eggs might find their way within the intestine which leads to infections and other diseases. Garlic is one of the best ways to kill these worms.
5. Protects from Microbial Infections and Cold
The intestinal tract contains both good bacteria as well as bad bacteria. Any medication to fight infection usually ends up killing all the bacteria without discrimination. However, garlic contains phytochemicals, which effectively helps in removing the harmful bacteria alone. Furthermore, these help in promoting the healing activity within a child as well. Climate changes and extreme weather conditions can lead to cold and cough in babies. Garlic is very effective in treating cough and cold. The oils in garlic work in returning the respiratory tract to a normal level, whereas the antimicrobial properties fight against the viruses and bacteria causing the illness.
How Much Garlic is Safe for Infants
When introducing garlic to a baby, do it properly. As with any new food item, it is necessary to check for chances of allergies. Therefore, give only a small clove of garlic at first. If there doesn’t seem to be any problem for a few days, then you can give him the same amount or a little more gradually, but not as much as an adult may have.
Measures to Be Taken While Giving Garlic to a Baby
There are a couple of things that need to be kept in mind before introducing garlic to a baby in any form. Here is what you must note before giving garlic to a baby:
1. Choose the Right Garlic
Choose a clove that is clear, white, and juicy. Add it to the food of your baby while cooking. Avoid giving it in the raw form.
2. Control the Strong Flavour
If your baby seems to react adversely to the smell or taste of garlic, pair it with a little sugar a few times in the beginning. Don’t give him too much.
Delicious Recipes Containing Garlic for Babies
There are a few interesting ways you can make garlic a part of your baby’s diet once he gets started on solids.
1. Garlic Roti
Give garlic roti to your baby once he turns one, and not before that. This will have him munching on the flavour with zest.
How to Prepare
- Crush the garlic clove and put it in a bowl along with coriander and butter.
- Mix them all together and lay the mixture on the roti.
- Toast it on a pan at high temperature for about 10 minutes until it emits flavour.
2. Indian Rasam
The absolute classic preparation that is known for its nutrition as well as a soothing effect.
- Cumin seeds
- Black pepper
How to Prepare
- Sauté black pepper, garlic, and cumin seeds in a pan with some oil. Keep it aside.
- Boil water and tomatoes for about 8 minutes and then allow it to cool.
- Mash all the ingredients properly and strain it to separate the tomato skin. Add the sautéed preparation to it and give it in the form of a soup or with some rice to your child.
4. Garlic Soup With Chicken
Give garlic soup with chicken to your baby at dinner time.
- Chicken, boneless
How to Prepare
- Place all the ingredients inside a pressure cooker. Let it cook on a medium flame for about 8-10 minutes. Later, reduce the flame and let it cook for another 15 minutes on it.
- Once done, use a strainer to acquire the broth and let your baby have it while it is warm.
Any healthy food provides benefits when it is consumed in the appropriate quantities. The same goes for garlic as well. Your baby will have the best of it when it is introduced in the right form.
Also Read: Is Cinnamon Good for Babies?